Daughter wants to buy bolt action for her soon to be husband

peterk123

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She cannot break the bank. I am leaning toward a 30-06 because this will be his only hunting rifle. They will be living in Montana by April 2021. Trusty caliber, lots of bullet options, and great to reload. There are some inexpensive combos out there (when they come back in stock), but I think she should probably forget about the scope for now and put the extra 100 bucks toward the rifle. With $500 to play with what do you guys think are the best choices? I am going to guess that all guns have good barrels these days, so it probably comes down to how crappy the stock and trigger is. Thx Pete
 

peterk123

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I picked up the Ruger American in 30.06 over the summer at a really good price... with factory ammo the gun kicks like a mule... makes my 12 gauge with slugs feel like a 22lr.

Is it because the gun is too light or because of the cartridge? My bolt action is Tikka T3x lite in 308. I do not mind the kick of the gun, and it is a light gun. I figured the 30-06 will provide some better options, especially if he feels a need for a heavier bullet at times, say in the 180 grain range.
 

peterk123

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Will he reload? If not, I'd pick .308. He'll be able to get military ammo so he doesn't have to practice with premium hunting ammo. If he'll reload, then the .375 H&H. It's probably the most versatile caliber in the world.

He will eventually reload. In the meantime, I can do it for him. Gerry, the .375 is a new one for me. Does it have a wide range of bullet options so he could hunt something smaller like a pronghorn without destroying the meat? Also widely available, like the 30-06 and 308?
 

peterk123

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308 is probably an easier caliber to feed than 30-06.
Not much difference in capability but 308 is more available.

That is why I settled on 308 for myself. I just continue to read so much about going with the 30-06 for its greater range of bullet options. Certainly would make it easier for both of us to use the same caliber though.
 

BFDX7

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Casted and loaded those on the light side and they are great. The recoil is cause the gun is plastic and on the light side.
 

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In Montana, I'd go for a 6.5 Creedmoor or 7mm mag over the 308. Both are fairly common, though 308 is certainly more common and cheaper. Since you mention reloading I'm guessing factory ammo cost isn't going to be a huge factor.
 

BlackwaterFence

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Check local gun stores after hunting season. I have bought a few that people would sell for Christmas money. However, it might be different in this climate.
 

BigTimber

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Myself and almost everyone I know who lives in And hunts Montana uses a 270. Drop an elk as well as not destroying all the meat on smaller game like pronghorns. Fast and flat for those cross canyon far shots. You just can’t beat it. T3 for the win. Also glass is huge. No 2x and I wouldn’t even go 3x9. This is 4x12 country. Half the critters I’ve shot in big sky country have been 400+ yards.
 
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Kevin 103

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How about something used? Massachusetts is a good place to look for a bolt action rifle with optics because of the relatively few options for rifle hunting in the state.
I’ve been told that a lot of that stuff gets sold online by LGS because the demand is greater out west.

I lean towards older wood and steel, a younger guy probably not.
 

BigTimber

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How about something used? Massachusetts is a good place to look for a bolt action rifle with optics because of the relatively few options for rifle hunting in the state.
live been told that a lot of that stuff gets sold online by LGS because the demand is greater out west.

I lean towards older wood and steel, a younger guy probably not.
Only problem with old wood and steel out west is when your at 10,000 feet chasing the sheep of a life time those extra 3-4 pounds of nostalgia feel like torture. Big sky means lots of hiking mostly at real elevation Something we east coast folks can’t appreciate until you’re at that altitude. Every pound really matters.
 

BigTimber

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She cannot break the bank. I am leaning toward a 30-06 because this will be his only hunting rifle. They will be living in Montana by April 2021. Trusty caliber, lots of bullet options, and great to reload. There are some inexpensive combos out there (when they come back in stock), but I think she should probably forget about the scope for now and put the extra 100 bucks toward the rifle. With $500 to play with what do you guys think are the best choices? I am going to guess that all guns have good barrels these days, so it probably comes down to how crappy the stock and trigger is. Thx Pete
What part of Montana?
 

Kevin 103

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Only problem with old wood and steel out west is when your at 10,000 feet chasing the sheep of a life time those extra 3-4 pound of nostalgia feel like torture. Big sky means lots of hiking mostly at real elevation Something we east coast folks can’t appreciate until you’re at that altitude. Every pound really matters.

very good point, I get it. My suggestion was based mainly on staying within the budget.

I know it’s not the same as chasing sheep at 10,000‘ but i carry a 12 GA 1970’s Beretta over under when I bird hunt in ND walking 8-9 miles a day everyone else has a 20GA autoloader with a synthetic stock.
 

BigTimber

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very good point, I get it. My suggestion was based mainly on staying within the budget.

I know it’s not the same as chasing sheep at 10,000‘ but i carry a 12 GA 1970’s Beretta over under when I bird hunt in ND walking 8-9 miles a day everyone else has a 20GA autoloader with a synthetic stock.
ND for birds. Simply doesn’t get any better.
 

BigTimber

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Livingston, and possibly one day... Big Timber? Are you familiar with Big Timber? :)
SWEET! And yes you could say I’m familiar with big timber. My avatar is a spot all the way up swamp creek road right at the base of the crazies. No where I’d rather be with a tag in my pocket and a rifle in my hand.
 
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I too would go with a used rifle. Ruger M77 or Winchester 70; Remington 700. As has been mentioned the .270 Winchester or .30-06 would be capable of handling anything we have in this part of the country. Currently here in North Dakota ammo of all kinds is extremely hard to come by. Quality scopes are also becoming scarce. Although ugly as sin the Savage 110 family of rifles are accurate and reliable. Used they will average a lower price than the other manufacturers I listed. Take any available savings and buy as good a scope as possible. $500.00 is going to be tough right now as prices are increasing rapidly on darn near everything.
 

45Badger

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Hard to go wrong with a clean used Remington BDL in .30-06 as all around hunting rifle. Will cleanly take any and all North American big game. Slap on a clean leupold 3-9x40 (vari-x 2 or better) and he will have a lifetime gun that can be passed on for generations.

Used clean guns and scopes are readily found I’d somewhat patient. The 700/leupold combo can be had for $500. Easily for $600.

If she wants to go to big $$, I’ll sell my .308 LTR / Leupy MK 4 rig. It shoots 1/2” at 100 yards with 165 gr game king hand loads😎
 

Spanz

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She cannot break the bank. I am leaning toward a 30-06 because this will be his only hunting rifle. They will be living in Montana by April 2021. Trusty caliber, lots of bullet options, and great to reload. There are some inexpensive combos out there (when they come back in stock), but I think she should probably forget about the scope for now and put the extra 100 bucks toward the rifle. With $500 to play with what do you guys think are the best choices? I am going to guess that all guns have good barrels these days, so it probably comes down to how crappy the stock and trigger is. Thx Pete
montana...long shots. need a flat trajectory. not like hunting in MA!!!

Get a savage 300 win mag. It would not be that unusual to be taking hundreds of yards shots. Some prefer the 300 win short mag, its a tossup. Synthetic stock and SS barrel would be appreciated in the wet Montana winters, but not essential!


The .300 Win Mag was designed as a long-range cartridge, and the .30/06 was designed for an infantry rifle whose maximum effective range for aimed fire was 460 yards, which today is not long.

 
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mac1911

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She cannot break the bank. I am leaning toward a 30-06 because this will be his only hunting rifle. They will be living in Montana by April 2021. Trusty caliber, lots of bullet options, and great to reload. There are some inexpensive combos out there (when they come back in stock), but I think she should probably forget about the scope for now and put the extra 100 bucks toward the rifle. With $500 to play with what do you guys think are the best choices? I am going to guess that all guns have good barrels these days, so it probably comes down to how crappy the stock and trigger is. Thx Pete
My thoughts are wait till they are living in Montana, I can only imagine some of the used hunting set up that could be found out there.
I also ask , is the future husband already a hunter?
i know people like to surprise people but I always think its best to give a gag gift like a cheap bb gun with a envelope full of cash ear marked for the rifle purchase and let them pick it out.
 
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